Team Fortress 2 map 'ported' to WebGL

Developer Brandon Jones has revealed a demo featuring the Team Fortress 2 map '2Fort' running on WebGL from a browser, a demo he first wowed audiences with at the OnGameStart conference this past September.


Big name franchises like Battlefield and Quake are already available in browser-form, but can a modern retail title make the same leap? With recent news that Unreal Engine 3 support is coming to Flash Players and a new tech demo from software developer Brandon Jones, it seems like the browser is a much more powerful platform than we imagined.

Jones has successfully 'ported' 2Fort, the classic Team Fortress 2 map, to WebGL, running plug-on free in a browser. Jones first presented the demo at the OnGameStart conference in Poland in September.

Pairing the level down into 200MB worth of assets, Jones has recreated the level and shows off his near-final product in a video on YouTube. According to Jones, normal mapping on brush surfaces is a no-show, water (or anything shiny) isn't being rendered, lighting is off, and the 3D skybox is missing from the demo. It doesn't look perfect and a few key elements are missing from the level, but it shows a lot of promise.

Jones says that his Source Engine 'port' (of sorts) runs at a smooth 60fps in browser. He also claims to have pushed the game beyond 100fps in some cases, meaning the addition of some of those missing elements wouldn't hinder the experience. Responding to inquires on his YouTube channel, Jones said that the demo is running on "Google Chrome 16 (Canary Channel), but it runs fine on the stable version of Chrome as well."

For those with any modicum of interest in development, Jones has offered the WebGL port's source code online. Since Team Fortress 2 is a modern game with current players (and because he owns no rights to the title) Jones isn't making the assets used in the demo available.

If Team Fortress 2 going Free-to-Play was Valve's approach to enticing players into the multiplayer shooter, having a similar experience available in a browser might be the next logical step. Of course, perhaps the game's collection of hats is far too big to be ported into our browser winder.

Jones outlines how he created the demo on his blog.

On his YouTube channel, Jones also released another video of the demo, captured with a smoother framerate.

Note: To clarify, this isn't a playable port of the game. It's porting the assets into WebGL and viewable via a web browser.


Xav de Matos was previously a games journalist creating content at Shacknews.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    October 7, 2011 2:45 PM

    Xav de Matos posted a new article, Team Fortress 2 map ported to WebGL.

    Developer Brandon Jones has revealed a demo featuring the Team Fortress 2 map '2Fort' running on WebGL from a browser, a demo he first wowed audiences with at the OnGameStart conference this past September.

    • reply
      October 7, 2011 3:59 PM

      moar plz

    • reply
      October 7, 2011 4:11 PM

      This isn't a "port" of the Source engine to WebGL, FFS. It's a TF2 model viewer application written in WebGL. And not a very good one at that.

      • reply
        October 7, 2011 4:37 PM

        Right. That wording might be wrong but I don't actually say it's playable. I'm not saying you can go play this.

      • reply
        October 7, 2011 4:39 PM

        I added a note to clarify, FFS. :)

    • reply
      October 7, 2011 5:05 PM

      The complexity of this is a fraction of what is required to run a game engine. In practice, Javascript probably is not the best language choice for a performant realtime system. In this case note that most of the work is being done on the GPU side, and the javascript game loop is almost exclusively submitting geometry, with very little update work (besides updating a camera matrix, and sorting for alpha).

      If WebGL takes off it could cause a resurgence in OpenGL domination, or at the least bring back some healthy competition against DirectX (in terms of tools, documentation, support) in the games industry.

      I would of jumped on WebGL development a while ago, but my general dislike for Javascript prevented that from happening.

      See also Google Native Client.

      • reply
        October 7, 2011 5:24 PM

        javascript has tremendous momentum right now and webgl ain't doing too bad either. Maybe not the prettiest language at times but momentum is a bitch.

        • reply
          October 8, 2011 1:52 PM

          It is pretty amazing the the performance gains they were able to get out of javascript lately. I have seen quake1/2 and doom ports running off of webgl at acceptable frames.

          I really wish a new language or new revision would take over however that enables a developer to be able to protect the source code in some sort of package. I can't imagine too many developers are going to release commercial games to be sold without attempting protect the source code. I believe that is probably one of the reasons why Epic probably chose Adobe Flash.

    • reply
      October 8, 2011 2:33 PM

      I always thought valve would bring CS and TF2 to web browsers or maybe playing directly in a steam window or something.

Hello, Meet Lola